Rich and I are usually on the same page when it comes to desserts. These brownies are one of the few exceptions. I think they are the epitome of a non-chocolate dessert – soft, with a slight crust on top, redolent of brown sugar and vanilla. Rich thinks they are kind of bland. I am a lover of all things brown sugar, which could influence my feelings just a bit. And the recipe is my mom’s, so they are a taste of childhood for me.
I am not the only one who likes these, though. I always come home with an empty pan when I take them to any party. I made them for a church function once and I didn’t think I was going to get out the door without giving out the recipe to a friend. She made me promise I would send her the recipe as soon as I got home – no waiting until the next day. They are that good.
I have no idea where my mother got the recipe. It is another one of those that was always in the recipe box, ready for us to whip up a batch. I like them with pecans occasionally, but usually I like to keep them plain. You can make them a little lower in fat by substituting yogurt for half of the oil, if you like. They will be a little cakier, though still just as tasty. You can also substitute ½ cup of white whole wheat flour for the same amount of all-purpose flour to add a subtle nuttiness. Sometimes I do both variations, sometimes one or the other, and sometimes neither. They are always irresistible, at least to me. I am going to try them with butter sometime, to see if that would make me like them more. I am almost afraid to, since I always eat way too many when I make them as they are.
They are easy to mix up – requiring no more than a bowl and a spoon; and they use ingredients you probably already have on hand. You can have them baked and ready to eat in less than an hour. Mix some up soon and let me know if you are in my camp, or Rich’s.
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 24 brownies
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (or ¼ cup oil and ¼ cup fat free, plain yogurt)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup white whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 pan.
Stir brown sugar and oil together until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, salt and pecans (if using). Mix thoroughly, batter will be very thick.
Spread in pan, making as smooth as possible.
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
Place pan on cooling rack. Let cool about 10 minutes and then cut into squares. Let cool in pan until room temperature.
These freeze well. Easy to double.